Sunday, January 30, 2011

Repeat Performance

Remember this?


Well, Cowgirl's at it again.

I noticed over the last couple of days that she has been wearing her bangs to the side with a clip placed right square in the middle of her forehead.

This morning before church I asked her to come and let me help her do her hair. She got a freaked out look on her face which I quickly understood as I brushed her bangs out...

She had cut her hair again. Last Friday.

Her explanation was that I was asleep on Friday morning and she wanted them cut before school. She didn't think she did too bad of a job last time so she figured she'd try it again. This time? Not so lucky.

She felt terrible about it so I did my best to fix her hair to hide the new 'do.


She must have liked the end result because she then gave me permission to post pictures on my blog. (No one can resist the chance to be a star!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Graduation

{cue pomp and circumstance}

I am proud to announce that after 4 weeks of feeling a bit on the geriatric side:



I am still not allowed to put weight on my foot but I feel so much younger now that I'm free of my walker.

I look forward to a future date when I can happily announce that I've graduated to these:


Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flower Power

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.
~The Koran



Yet another reason why I love the place where Allen works.

They sent me this beautiful bouquet with a note that read:
Get well soon! Sorry this took so long. Your friends at (Allen's work).

What is it about flowers? They make me a happier person just to look over at them. Is it the colors? The fragrance that fills the room? There is something grand about having a small part of nature and the outside world at springtime right here at my bedside in the middle of winter.

Whatever it is, they have brightened my room and my spirits since the day they arrived last week and once again I have been reminded of what an awesome company Allen works for.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Sweetest Thing


There is something about having a new baby in the house that I can only describe as magical.

I'm not sure if the love that everyone has for this newest tiny human being in our family just spills over onto everything else, causing a general feeling of happy contentment. Maybe it's just a peaceful feeling that comes about from seeing a smallish someone who is just starting out in this life, perfect and new. Whatever it is, these feelings seem to have permeated our home over the past few weeks and it has been bliss.

I love this poem which we found in the life history of Allen's maternal grandmother. I think she captures perfectly what I'm trying to say.

You're Welcome

You're welcome little stranger babe,
As welcome as the spring
That drives the winter gloom away
And brings the birds to sing.
The boon of love you brought to me
Was like a gift divine
To build and hold us heart to heart
Forever, baby mine.

I love being a mother. Again.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Heart Books

One benefit of laying in bed all day is that I have (more than) ample time for reading... and I love to read.

I'm going to tell you what I've read so far and what I've thought of each one. And then I would LOVE to hear what books you've loved and would recommend to me - because my pile is diminishing fast and I've still got another few weeks of hanging out in my bedroom.


Ten Circles Upon The Pond by Virginia Tranel.


I really loved this book. In it the author details various challenges, triumphs and interesting narratives relating to her life as a mother of ten children. The book has ten chapters - one for each of her children - and often reads like poetry. Her descriptions and beautiful wording were engaging. When I finished reading I felt as if the author was a close friend whom I have shared experiences with. (Did she break her ankle as the mother of a young child? Oh, yes, she did. Was she often asked, when others discovered how many children she had, "Don't you know what causes that?" Yup.) I honestly wish she and I were real-life friends who at least correspond by email on occasion. I'm sure she would have plenty more stories (and advice!) to share. Huge thanks to my friend Lisa for loaning me this one.

**********

Goodbye, I Love You by Carol Lynn Pearson.


Let me say that I LOVE books that make me think, and this book definitely made me think. It's a true story which Publisher's Weekly describes with these words: "Although aware of Gerald's homosexual past, Carol had faith that marriage would overcome her husband's sexual preference. The shock of discovering, after eight years of apparent happiness and the birth of four children, that his inclination was still for males shook her belief in her own femaleness and the role of women. Moving to the more permissive atmosphere of San Francisco, they obtained a friendly divorce but remained very close as a family. When Gerald was stricken by AIDS, their love withstood this ultimate trial, providing support throughout his illness and the strength to face death with serenity." This book was moving and offered a point of view I had never really thought about. Thanks to Rebecca for recommending it - I don't think I would have found it or read it otherwise.

**********

So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger.


This was a fun story to read. It is set in the west, back in the days of Pinkerton detectives and Wild West shows, train robberies and a simpler life. It's a story of two men - one an author with a family and the other a boat-maker with a mysterious past - and their adventures as they embark on an unforgettable, life changing journey together. I have never read the more famous Peace Like a River by this same author but I want to after reading this book.

**********

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.


I read enough of this book to know that I wasn't going to like it. I even tried to give it another chance by skimming some of the chapters near the end and trying to get into the story there - with no luck. If you enjoy reading about murderers and the details of their sick crimes, as well as the devastation in the lives left behind when a loved-one is brutally taken from this life then this is the book for you. I wouldn't even give it one star. (Sorry, Alice Sebold. No hard feelings.)

**********

Before the Dawn by Dean Hughes.


This book by LDS author Dean Hughes was a great story about a small-town LDS church congregation and the calling of a tough farm widow, Leah Sorensen, as the congregation's new Relief Society president in the times of the Great Depression. Initially she alienates about half of the women from attending any longer. However, as the story unfolds she learns that, if you're willing to look, there is something to love in everyone. It also tells of the good that can come of women working together rather than working against each other. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

**********

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield.


I enjoyed the 'Uglies' series of books by Scott Westerfield, so when ElemenoB brought Leviathan home from her school library for me to read I figured it was worth a go. And then I finished it in a day. It explores some interesting ideas (what if Darwin had discovered DNA and began cloning creatures?) while weaving the adventurous story of a boy (heir to a throne) who is running from his enemies after the death of his parents. Throw in a girl who dresses like a boy to be able to join the army of the day, a bunch of mechanical creature/machines and some mysterious circumstances and you've got a pretty interesting tale. I was disappointed when I got to the end because it totally leaves you hanging mid-story... and then (of course!) tells you to find out more in the next book. I'd still recommend it, though. Thanks for the good read, ElemenoB.

**********

Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon.


Okay, I know this book is (obviously) supposed to be a parody of Twilight. I get that. But it was still stupid. I read a few chapters, thinking I needed more time to get into it but it just kept getting more stupid. I can usually find the humor in a good parody but this one was completely lost on me. (And yes, I did read Twilight. And no, I didn't like it, either.) This book maybe deserves one half-glowing star for the funny names they substituted for the real book's characters. But I'm going to say that if you see this one at the library, keep walking on by.

**********

Your turn! Tell me which books I should read over the next few weeks. What's your favorite?


Here's what I have stacked by the bed already:

The Doll People by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin
The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Recovering Charles by Jason Wright

What else should I get?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quick Quips


A conversation between Curly & I:
"When will our baby grow up bigger?"
"He grows up a little bit every day."
"So he growed up some today?"
"Yup."
"But he's still just a cuter and cuter little boy when he's growing bigger."

Star Wars lingo from Little O:
"Where my Koo-Ker?"
"Mom doesn't understand who Koo-Ker is."
He runs off and returns with a Star Wars DVD case. Pointing to Darth Vader, he says: "He Koo-Ker."
"Why do you call him Koo-Ker?"
(Breathing like Darth Vader) "Koooooo, Ker. Koooooo, Ker."

Hubba's inquiring mind led to this:
"Mom, why is there two g's on the baby's diapers?"
"It's part of the name for the diapers: Huggies."
"HUGgies? Why are they called Huggies?"
"Because they hug the baby's bum."
"Why do they hug his bum?"
"So the poop won't come out."
"Oh... yeah. Sometimes I hug my bum, too."

Some one-liners:

(Hubba farts.) "Whoa! I flew a little with that one!"

Curly: "You should eat more and more so your tummy can get really fat and you can have another cute little baby!"

(Hubba, to a girl at our door talking to Coolister) "Hey, guess what? I farted!"

(Little O, shaking the hand of his new baby brother) "Nice to meet you, baby!"

Hubba is admiring his new baby brother. The baby lets out a little toot and Hubba says, "Awww! He can fart cute little farts! He's just perfect for our family!"

(Are you sensing a theme in Hubba's life right now?)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

People of Walmart


It was just a few days before Christmas as I ventured into our local Walmart for some last-minute gift purchases. Being almost a full 9 months pregnant I thought it sensible to make a detour into the restroom before starting my shopping and was surprised to see a woman at the sink washing a small tub of dishes.

As I approached the sink to wash my hands the woman apologized for taking up a sink for her dish washing. I told her it was no bother to me but definitely wondered why in the world she found it necessary to clean her dishes in the bathroom of a Walmart. She answered my silent question with her next remark, "When we be out travelin' life's lonely highway tryin' to find that place we call home for the holidays, we gots to do what we gots to do to make things work."

A voice from behind me answered her, "Lawd, girl. You said it." I turned and saw that the dishwashing lady had a friend at the corner sink who I hadn't noticed before. Believe it or not, she was using the sink to wash her... unmentionables. Seriously. I can't make this stuff up.

At this point I was looking around for a hidden camera somewhere. I was not sure what to think.

"So, honey, when's that baby comin'?" the first lady asked me.

"I've got another few weeks," was my reply.

"This your first?" she inquired.

"No. My tenth, actually."

"You say your tenth?" she asked, incredulous. "Like, you had nine babies and this be your number TEN baby?"

"That's right," I answered, drying my hands.

"How many daddies for all them kids?"

"Just one." I answered, already growing weary of the way this conversation was headed.

"Girl, you got eight up on me. I had my oldest girl and 18 months later I had my second. And that's just 'cuz I forgot."

"You say you forgot?" the second woman remarked in a fit of laughter. "Lawd, you funny."

"So," the dishwasher asked, "you got your own T.V. show yet?"

"You say T.V. show?" the laundress laughed. "Girl, you bustin' my gut!"

"Really, now, your man got a good job to help with all those babies?" the first lady asked me.

At this point I was beyond ready to make my exit. I don't generally enjoy being the topic of an impromptu comedy show put on by two travelers in the WalMart bathroom. But I answered her question.

"Yes, he does." And then, as I started to leave I wished them well in their travels and said, "You have a Merry Christmas."

"Yeah, you too, Miss TEN BABIES. Ten! Lawd almighty. Bless you, honey. That's all I gots to say. BLESS. YOU."

And as I walked out into the store I heard the second woman comment, "When we all see that girl on T.V. we can say we met her at Utah's Walmart!"

Yeah. In the bathroom. As you washed your underwear.

Only at Walmart.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Date

Who looks the most excited to have their mom there taking pictures? That's my girl.


ElemenoB and two of her friends planned a fun group date for the school's girl's choice Christmas Dance (really, it was just a huge ice skating party with no dancing involved, but whatever) last month.

It was a first date for all three of them.

How cool is that?

When ElemenoB and I went to pick her date up (someone needs to get their license, don't you think?) he gave her a rose and a box of one of her favorite kinds of candy. I was impressed - because do boys do that sort of thing anymore? Not that I know of.

Some of you may remember that she asked him on this date by 'stocking' him across state lines to a cross-country race in Southern California.

He answered her with a piece of celery festooned with googly eyes and a note that said, "Who's STALKing who?" (And of course his answer: YES.)

Turns out this was his first date, too.

I think they're off to a good start.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Reflections

Hello, world.

The snow falls so lightly this morning that it almost appears as a shimmering mist outside my bedroom window. In moments when the sunlight escapes through the clouds and reflects off of the falling snow just right I could swear that the world is being covered in swirling sparkles of glitter.

The morning I slipped and fell on my driveway, the concrete sparkled. I didn't notice this until after I had fallen and was laying there in the gutter in front of my home with my injury, unable to move. Maybe it was the angle from which I could now see the driveway, maybe it was because I had experienced firsthand the ice rink that my street had become. Perhaps the glimmering I saw was simply a result of the shock I was experiencing due to the pain in my leg. Either way, I remember thinking that if I had to lay there for a long time before someone discovered me, that driveway sure was a pretty sight. I started to wonder if maybe there was actually glitter mixed in with the concrete when my neighbor Mr. C., out walking his dog, came to my rescue.

Probably the one thing I have thought about most as I lie here in my bed day after day is the timing of my accident. Because it was 9:00 in the morning during Christmas break, my neighborhood was still asleep. I wonder if Mr. C. took regular walks at this hour or if something may have held him back or pushed him forward so that he left a bit sooner or later than usual. Just as when Coolister broke his ankle last March, I have learned that there are no such thing as coincidences in situations like these.

It was no coincidence that Mr. C. came by when he did and crossed the street to where I lay in order to offer assistance. I have never even met this man before that day, yet he did not hesitate to come to my aid. I have honestly thought in retrospect that we could have named our son after Mr. C because that is how grateful I am for his help that morning. I'm not sure I could ever really express the depth of my gratitude.

It was not a coincidence that this happened during Christmas break, when my older kids could be home tending to the younger ones so that Allen could stay in the hospital with me. When the paramedics showed up, All-a-Boy was downstairs playing a game with the littlest kids so that they would not see me in pain, surrounded by strangers in our front room, carted on a gurney to the ambulance.

It was not a coincidence that our nurse in the emergency room was the daughter of a neighbor who we knew well. It helped me feel at ease to talk about something familiar as I waited to hear what course of action would be taken to repair the dislocation and breaks in my ankle and leg.

It was no coincidence that the on-call surgeon was the same one who operated on Coolister's leg last march. We found him to be a bit arrogant and rude throughout Coolister's ordeal but we saw firsthand how Coolister's ankle healed beyond what we were told was possible and had confidence in the doctor's skills as a surgeon. I also do not think it was a coincidence that the aforementioned surgeon was actually kind and considerate toward me (well, minus the waiting time before surgery) despite his typical reputation.

It was not a coincidence that, when our little boy was born 3 weeks early, he weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was perfectly healthy and ready to be here.

When I went for my surgery the day after I had given birth, it was no coincidence that I saw my OB twice (there to perform surgery on others under his care) while waiting for my surgeon to show up. He offered me words of encouragement and support when I was ready to explode with some mixture of anger, fear, frustration and tears. He helped me feel a sense of calm when I needed it.

As Allen waited on me in the hospital, it was no coincidence that our neighbors showed up at our home to provide our family with pizzas for lunch, meals for dinner and treats for whenever they wanted one before anything was coordinated to make this happen. It helped me to know that my family was being watched over while I selfishly kept Allen by my side to help tend to the needs of our newborn baby as the nurses tended to the needs of my post-surgical healing.

There are many more instances of non-coincidences over the past 2 weeks which I'll keep tucked away to be remembered personally by myself and my family, just as they should be.

In all instances, I know this for sure: coincidences did not exist in my world over the last couple of weeks. Tender mercies? Gifts from a loving Heavenly Father? Blessings? Even miracles? Yes to all of them... but no coincidences.

The afternoon as I waited to leave the hospital I was holding my baby boy. His eyes were curious and seemed to be searching mine with that innocence that comes with being new. I reveled in this moment, basking in his newness and the overwhelming happiness of being able to do this again, to mother another sweet newborn babe. As I sat there gazing at him, I noticed my own face reflected in the eyes of my beautiful baby boy - and then he smiled.

Coincidence? I think not.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

If You Give A Boy A Piano Book...


...filled with songs by composer John Williams,


not only will he be excited to learn to play them - but you will also never have to remind him to practice.


In fact, you may have to ask him to not practice sometimes.


Like before school when the littlest kids are still asleep.


Or when he's supposed to be doing homework.


(Best Christmas gift, ever!)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Big And Little

We ran out of newborn sized diapers the other day...


...but that is where having a big brother who still wears diapers comes in handy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Point Of View

***I am totally warning you ahead of time that there are some pretty nasty pictures of my naked ankle in this post. If you don't want to see them then don't look. For reals! It's gross.***


I went back to see the surgeon again today and finally get that soft cast off. Glory Hallelujah!! That thing felt like I was dragging around 50 pounds of concrete whenever I tried to move it. When they took the cast off, here's what we saw:


The little incision


The big incision


I didn't realize how long (and gross looking) the incisions were. Or how many staples had been used to hold them together. I'll admit it made me a little queasy to see my foot like that. And even queasier to have the staples removed.

A nurse took some x-rays so we could check out the inside view as well. Want to see my new hardware?
Isn't it bionic? (Don't you think?)


I had no idea the plate was so long. Or that there were so many screws in there, either.


Seriously, I'm totally Bionic Ankle Woman now and it didn't cost me six million dollars. Don't be jealous.

When it came time to choose a color for the cast, I was waffling between black and white. Black wouldn't get dirty and it would match pretty much everything. With a white cast I could buy a huge pack of colored markers and let the kids go at it until I was sporting a masterpiece.

However, I ultimately went with something completely different...



Because how can you go wrong with camo? I figure this way no one can see my cast - that's the magic of camouflage.

That, my friends, is how I went from being an ordinary mother and housewife to the part Bionic, part Invisible Woman that you see before you today.

And now, after all of that excitement, I am ready to go and take a nap.

SuperGerb, out.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

For My Friends At Sorenson

Dear Sorenson Friends,

I got an email from Maria (Hi Maria! Thanks for the email!) and she mentioned that a whole bunch of you read my blog. I just wanted you all to know that just knowing that totally made my day. It's almost like I'm still one of the gang.

You ladies rock.

Much love,
Gerb

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lessons Learned From My Christmas 'Break'

Here's what I look at all day, every day.


It has been a looooooong week since my ankle surgery.

Unfortunately, my initial tendencies lately are to feel sorry for myself, sitting around on my bed all day. For those of you who think that sounds wonderful, sitting in bed having others attend to you 24/7, it is pretty overrated; especially for someone like myself who likes being independent.

I will admit that the sweet little bundle of beautiful baby boy who rests to my right and shares my confinement does make it more bearable. But still. For example - I used to have free access to the multitude of snacks in my kitchen without anyone having to know of my terrible treat-eating habits. Now if I want one, I have to ask someone to get it for me. This is all fine and good, except that after asking a couple of times I can't bring myself to ask again. "Could you go get mom another plate of cookies from the freezer downstairs? Oh, and a bowl of ice cream?" It just doesn't seem right. I'm sure this is a good thing... but when I just want a chocolate crinkle cookie from my stash in the downstairs freezer and have to ask someone to bring it to me I can guarantee you my stash is being depleted when I'm not looking. Revealing the places where my stash is hidden really stinks.

I think that I have learned a few wonderful lessons this past week, however. It has been a tough one, but a good one. I have mentioned before that we live in an awesome neighborhood. It's like an extension of the family, really. And when something like a broken ankle and a newborn baby happen in the same week, people really want to help. Usually when I have a baby and someone offers to bring us dinner I will tell them that I appreciate the offer but we are fine and have plenty of capable cooks around. Even if I want to accept their offers of baked goods and delicious meals this just seems like the right thing to do. Just say no, a little voice inside my head whispers to me. You are independent! You can do it all! You don't need any help.

That voice is me, the part of me who wants to do it all. The part of me that wants to show the world that no matter how large our family is or what happens to us, we can handle things ourselves. It has been difficult to admit to, but that voice is wrong. Sometimes, it takes a village to love and support a family during a tough time - and this is one of those times.

Not only do I want to accept any and all offers of food and assistance, I sort of need to. I can't even stand for more than a few minutes at a time and even that about kills me, trying to precariously balance on my good foot while holding my broken ankle off the ground. I'm stuck in bed pretty much all of the time unless I am feeling up to making my way to the couch. Allen is busy being mom AND dad when he's home, tending to the housework and the kiddos, and as soon as the teenagers get home from school he's off to his other job - the one he gets paid to do. (Love that man!)

I'd ask the teenagers to pitch in and make dinner but it seems they are in a constant state of doing homework or tending to my other little needs during the evening (changing diapers, helping littler kids with homework and getting PJs on, helping me make school lunches for the next day, maintaining the house, etc.) not to mention the nights they have their own obligations (church activities, basketball games, practices, etc.).

So I've changed. I have learned to respond to offers of help not with, "I appreciate that, but we're fine" but instead with this new phrase:

"That would be awesome. Thank you."

I am not sure why it is so difficult to let others serve us. When I am asked to help others, I love to do so. I want to be the first in line to bring in a meal for a family with a new baby or whatnot. I love the feeling of being able to fulfill a need for someone. So why do I have a hard time letting others do the same for me? They would not ask to help if they did not want to do so. It has been a good lesson for me to accept these kind acts of service. I am filled with overwhelming gratitude for the wonderful neighbors and friends who have done so much for us in the past week.

To everyone who has sent well-wishes and amazing food and sweet little gifts our way, thank you. You have all helped make this much more bearable and we are so grateful for everything.

A million times, thank you.